There is no doubt that Ya’jooj and Ma’jooj are two huge nations of the sons of Adam. Anyone who reads the story of Dhu’l-Qarnayn and how he dealt with this nation in Soorat al-Kahf will know for sure that they exist and that the barrier which was built is not metaphorical or imaginary, but is a physical barrier built of iron and melted copper. The basic principle is that we should take this Qur’anic text as it is, without resorting to any kind of misinterpretation or trying to twist the intended meaning. The Qur’aan has told us how the barrier was built and what materials were used, so it is not right to say that it is a metaphorical or imaginary barrier. In Soorat al-Kahf, Allaah has told us the story of the Muslim king and the great leader Dhu’l-Qarnayn (may Allaah have mercy on him):
“Until, when he reached between two mountains, he found, before (near) them, a people who scarcely understood a word.
They said, ‘O Dhu’l-Qarnayn! Verily! Ya’jooj and Ma’jooj are doing great mischief in the land. Shall we then pay you a tribute in order that you might erect a barrier between us and them?’
He said: ‘That (wealth, authority and power) in which my Lord has established me is better (than your tribute). So help me with strength (of men), I will erect between you and them a barrier.
Give me pieces (blocks) of iron,’ then, when he had filled up the gap between the two mountain-cliffs, he said, ‘Blow,’ till when he had made it (red as) fire, he said, ‘Bring me molten copper to pour over it.’
So they [Ya’jooj and Ma’jooj] were made powerless to scale it or dig through it.
(Dhu’l-Qarnayn) said: ‘This is a mercy from my Lord, but when the Promise of my Lord comes, He shall level it down to the ground. And the Promise of my Lord is ever true.’”
What indicates that these nations exist at present, and indeed are attempting on a daily basis to get out and attack people, is the hadeeth reported by Ibn Maajah with a saheeh isnad from Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him), who said: “The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said that Ya’jooj and Ma’jooj are digging every day until they can almost see sunlight, then the one who is in charge of them says, “Go back, we will dig again tomorrow.” Then Allaah restores (the barrier) and makes it stronger than it was. (This will continue) until the appointed time. When Allaah wishes to send them against the people, they will dig until they can almost see sunlight, then the one who is in charge of them will say, “Go back, we will dig again tomorrow, in sha Allah.” This time he will say “in sha Allah”, so when they come back (the next day), they will find it as they left it, so they will dig their way out and emerge to attack the people. They will dry up water (by drinking it, because of their great numbers), and the people will seek to protect themselves from them in their fortresses. They will fire their arrows into the sky, and the arrows will come back down covered in blood (as a test for them), and they will say, “We have defeated the people of the earth and have gained the upper hand over the people of heaven.” Then Allaah will send worms on the napes of their necks, which will kill them. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “By the One in Whose hand is my soul, the beasts of the earth will grow fat from their flesh.” (Saheeh Ibn Maajah, 3298)
Umm Habeebah bint Abi Sufyaan reported from Zaynab bint Jahsh (may Allaah be pleased with them) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) entered upon her in an agitated state and said, “Laa ilaaha ill-Allaah, woe to the Arabs from an evil that has approached! Today a hole like this has been opened in the barrier of Ya’jooj and Ma’jooj,” and he made a circle with his thumb and forefinger. Zaynab bint Jahsh said: “I said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah, will we be destroyed even though there are righteous people among us?’ He said, ‘Yes, if evil becomes overwhelming.’” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, 3097).
And Allah knows best.